This may sound too rudimentary but I’ve seen marketeers lose sight of the fundamentals in their pursuit of being the first to use new technology; be it business applications, social media or mobile applications.

Because sometimes we forget what’s more important; the customer and the product/service.  I’ve learnt (the hard way!) that instead of signing up for technology services that are trending; taking a step back, understanding the technology and how you can best utilize it in the service of your customer (or user if you’re running an ecommerce business).

Below are the basic digital marketing initiatives you need to have in place.  Each item is an entire subject matter in itself.  I will share more in depth analysis and tips on each subject in subsequent posts.

Managing The  Website – Is it updated regularly? What kind of Content Management System (CMS) is being used largely depends on the scale of business.  What you choose to use, make sure all users are comfortable with it, and know exactly when and what to do on an operational level.  Is it easy to open on mobile phones and tablets (more than 70% of internet users now use mobile).  In a comprehensive digital marketing plans, Landing Pages play a big role in luring the online user to your website and/or a business transaction. They also help to measure your traffic specific to a campaign; so you can always include it as part of your post-campaign results.  If you are an ecommerce business, then landing pages can help to derive ROI on your marketing spend.

Storing & Using Customer Information – You’re thinking CRM. So am I. But get over the word.  Just simply manage your customers’ relationship. Use whatever works for you at that moment and scale of business.  Don’t take on too much in terms of a heavy duty CRM application that you or ALL your team members won’t use. Rather, at the bare minimum, keep one system that everyone uses, and more importantly, train and re-train as and when necessary so that everyone is comfortable with it.

The Social Media Monster– most of the time, businesses have the knee jerk reaction to use social media to promote their products, campaigns, etc.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  But if that’s the only type of content your are generating (mixing it in with re-sharing news and articles on topics that relate to your brand), then you are missing out my friend.  Have a social media strategy, make sure your entire team understands it (they will be a part of the community too).  More details on The Social Media Monster in later posts.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – thought I would throw in a buzzword.  SEO  is making sure that your website is properly set up for search engines to understand what your website is about and how trusted of a business you are, when it comes to an online presence.  If you are running an ecommerce business, this is extremely important.  It is constantly changing, and industry experts keep up to date with Google’s changes. .   

Be aware that the results of even a good SEO are long term. Don’t be fooled by digital agencies and so called “digital experts” who use the words SEO/SEM to inflate the consulting fees.  Understand what it is, before you invest in it.

SEM – Last buzzword, I promise!  I mentioned SEM above. They are just advertising on search engines.  Google Ads being the mostly used obviously.  This is used for short term results; usually for in conjunction with marketing campaigns and several larger businesses (or those with adequate funding) use SEM to engage the customer while they are online.

Banner Advertising – I have worked with UAE based automotive dealers, electronics retailers and consumer retail brands all who routinely use digital banner advertising as part of product launches, seasonal sales and special promotions.  From page take overs to smaller banner spaces, this is a good way to attract attention to the brand or product.  Pay special attention to which portals your are advertising on and if you share target audiences.  Using Google Display Network is an option, but is it the right one depends on your goals.

Social Advertising – Whether you have a social media presence or not, doesn’t mean that you cannot use social advertising to attract an audience to your website. Just be clear on what you want to say and that it fits the audience profile.

Analytics & Performance Management – always keep an eye on your site traffic.  Know where your users are coming from and why? So you can better plan to keep them coming back.  Google Analytics and Social Media Monitoring tools are readily available online.  But it doesn’t hurt to get an expert to show you the ropes, or if you are running ecommerce then invest in a staff to take care of this for you (remember to train them!) or let a dependable outsource provider help you out.  There are some features that you may not use (or know about) but can help you manage your online presence better.

BONUS: Re-targeting – this is a fairly new but much used feature supported by Google and other search engines.  Largely used by ecommerce driven websites, the idea behind this piece of code is to trigger the business that an online consumer is shopping for the product or service that they sell.  If the consumer leaves the website without making a purchase, re-targetting still allows the business to reach out to the customer with specific deals for that product or service.

So there you have it folks. Digital marketing basics.  Sounds like a lot? Tread carefully, research a lot and engage people who’ve got the experience. Good luck with your digital marketing adventure.

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